The National library is situated at the Belvedere Estate, near
Alipore Zoo in Kolkata.
About National Library
The National Library, India is the largest library in the country.
Housed in the former residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal,
the library contains almost 2 million books and nearly half a
million documents. It is an institution of National importance under
the 'Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture,
Government of India'. The library is designated to collect,
disseminate and preserve the printed material produced in the
country, attracts almost a thousand readers every day.
According to popular belief, this building was not built by the
British. Azim - Us-Shaan is believed to have constructed it in 1700
A.D. After the Battle of Plassey, Vanceytart got charge of this
Bhawan. He was an Italian who named this mammoth building
'Belvedierre'. The word connotes 'the queen of beauty'. Lady
Hastings was also the owner of this house for a short while. He sold
it to Major Tulley in 1780, The modern day 'Tollygunge' in Calcutta
bears memoirs of Major Tulley. However, this building was put to
auction after the demise of Major Tulley in 1802. In 1850, the Govt.
took charge of this palatial house. Some believe that Nawab Meer
Zaffar had once stayed in Belvedierre Bhawan.
Established in 1836, the Calcutta Public Library is not a
Government institution. Pyarichand Mitra had tenaciously worked
behind it. This can easily be regarded as the foundation of the
National Library. It became the official residence of the Lieutenant
Governor of Bengal..
Lord Curzon officially inaugurated the Imperial Library on 30th
January 1903, at the Metcalfe Hall i.e. at the junction of Hare
Street and Strand Road.
In 1923, the Library was shifted to 6, Esplanade East from Metcalfe
Hall. The erstwhile department for 'old papers' still lies in this
building. Again in 1953, the Library was reshifted to Belvedierre
Bhawan. It was then named as The National Library or Jatiya
C. Raja Gopalachari, the then Governor General of India, rendered
this proposal of shifting the library to Belvedierre Bhawan. Maulana
Abul Kalam Azad was the Education Minister of India at that time. He
corroborated this proposal. Finally On 1st February, 1953, its doors
were opened for public use.
The library has separate Indian language division for Assamese,
Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi,
Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu Languages.
Sanskrit language division also collects and process Pali and
Prakrit books. English books published in India are also collected
under D.B. Act.
Surprising Things in National Library
Around 18 thousand readers daily gather to accumulate knowledge on
various subjects. The collection comprises about 20,00,000 books and
5,00,000 manuscripts. Its gigantic campus encompasses 130 acres of
land. At present, the National Library is the 2nd largest public
library in Asia for which several notable persons have donated their
invaluable collections at different times. Sadar-Ud-ddin, the
Zaminder of Buhor, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, Surendra Nath Sen etc.
are some famous donors. These have added to the value and content of
books in this prestigious institution.
» Timing - 9 A.M. to 8 P.M
» Address - Belvedere, Kolkata-700027, West Bengal,
» Phone No. - +91-33-2479-1381 to 1384
Rare books, valuable manuscripts of the pre-British and British
days, original letters and notes of eminent personalities, Tamil
manuscripts on Ashutosh collection: Rare Books from 16th century
including limited and paintings on mica plates, etc. manuscripts and
original letters of eminent personalities, rare and special
bindings. illuminated eidtions, paintings including original water
colour paintings, palm-leaves.